Financial planners [looking for one]

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howboutsomehelp
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Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by howboutsomehelp » Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:22 pm

I remain a real idiot about finances and distrustful of advertised financial planners.
Who should I contact to get some solid financial advice from someone who will look out for my best interest?
I tried one of the Vanguard financial planners in the past but he was terrible, and I felt like he was a robot reading a script.
I live in central Tennessee between Nashville and Knoxville.
Married, 60's and no debt.
Any recommendations?
Thanks.

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djpeteski
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by djpeteski » Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:47 pm

The trouble is only you can truly look out for your best interests. Given your description of your own financial knowledge you cannot accurately judge the skill of an adviser. As such you are more likely to fall for a smoothing talking salesman then a nerdy trusted adviser. That would trouble me greatly.

If it was me, I would want to learn about this stuff and improve my skill. Luckily, you found a great resource. You can review the Q&A and do exactly what it says. As you start making inroads you can then ask specific questions about the make up for your portfolio.

Failing that, I would use an adviser from a big name: Fidelity, Charles Schwab, or Vanguard. Sure they will charge you 1% to shoe horn you into a cookie cuter solution, but you won't get hurt. You may pay a bit more in fees, you may make a bit less but your exposure to the various risks will be tolerable. You are probably right that the Vanguard guy was reading from a script. In a way that is a good thing. Heck in a way that is what I am proposing you do: read the boglehead script and do that. Why reinvent the wheel?

This is very much a DIY site, not many people use paid financial advisers (FAs). There was a thread a while back that asked, for those with over a 1 million net worth, how many use FAs? The results were a very low percentage.

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onthecusp
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by onthecusp » Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:51 pm

The best financial advice is likely to sound pretty much like a script.

I know the idea of an expert telling you what to do is seductive but you have to answer as many questions (if the advice is any good) as if you read the Bogleheads Wiki on any subject you might like. The "experts" who make their particular script sound the most customized and personal are probably in reality sales people who are taking a lot more than the 0.3% that the Vanguard guy probably charged.

I can't help you find a planner, but you can find a lot of answers to both general and specific financial questions here, if you ask.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:56 pm

I'm convinced that the Vanguard planners listen a bit, then suggest the components of one of their target date funds. Certainly you can do that yourself. That being said, it's likely a better path than what 99% of so called financial planners will suggest.

This stuff ain't difficult.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

carolinaman
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by carolinaman » Thu Apr 19, 2018 1:02 pm

I think it is a good idea and a good time to get some good financial advice from a fee only financial planner, especially for retirement planning at your age. There are a lot of things that can go into a good financial plan. IMO, the investment part is the easier part. Tax planning, SWR, will my money last and other topics may be more valuable. The following 2 websites should help you locate one in your area.

https://www.napfa.org/
https://www.garrettplanningnetwork.com/home

FWIW, always be cautious with financial planners. You should not let your guard down even though they are fee only.

Best wishes.

bltn
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by bltn » Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:05 pm

I got a free evaluation from a Vanguard financial planner about a year ago. Two telephone meetings lasting about an hour each. This provided investment recommendations with asset allocation based on the current Vanguard study results to maximize returns with reduced volatility based largely on passive(index) investing. If I wanted additional information, I would enter an agreement involving a yearly fee for advice of 0.3% of assets under management. I don t know that they would try to personalize your plan beyond some basic evaluation of your risk tolerance. Probably I would have to take responsibility for deciding about my own withdrawal plan and spending patterns.
Planning for long term care may or may not be in their realm.
But there is no incentive to earn commissions for advisors' benefits, or profit from your business for stock holders' benefit . No sales incentives.

Similar advice I got from Fidelity was useful also, but I got the impression that there was a motivation to sell Fidelity products. Just my impression.

A one percent fee for advice would come out of a maximum 4% withdrawal rate in my case. Pretty significant.

pkcrafter
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by pkcrafter » Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:09 pm

Here's another option. Boglehead Harry Sit (the finance buff) offers a service that will provide you with the names of three screened advisors in your area, but what you really may want is a financial plan that includes a review of everything you have and provides a detailed course of action. This is a one time event and normally costs >$3000. Garrett is the other resource I would recommend (link already provided), but you might email or PM the finance buff.

https://adviceonlyfinancial.com/how-to- ... paign=menu


Paul
When times are good, investors tend to forget about risk and focus on opportunity. When times are bad, investors tend to forget about opportunity and focus on risk.

dbr
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by dbr » Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:50 pm

carolinaman wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 1:02 pm
I think it is a good idea and a good time to get some good financial advice from a fee only financial planner, especially for retirement planning at your age. There are a lot of things that can go into a good financial plan. IMO, the investment part is the easier part. Tax planning, SWR, will my money last and other topics may be more valuable. The following 2 websites should help you locate one in your area.

https://www.napfa.org/
https://www.garrettplanningnetwork.com/home

FWIW, always be cautious with financial planners. You should not let your guard down even though they are fee only.

Best wishes.
These are a set of recommendations but I reinforce the caution. I did at one time consult two local planners found through NAPFA. One was incompetent and the other refused to proceed with conversation without signing an AUM fee agreement. Remember fee first of all means the planner makes money out of your pocket.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:05 pm

Are you looking for a financial planner or an investment advisor?

A financial planner would look at your total financial picture - income, savings, retirement accounts, insurance, housing, future needs - and recommend some actions to take to meet your goals, but would not necessarily manage your money on an ongoing basis. There would be a one time fee, that might be $1k on up.

An investment advisor would manage your investment accounts. Maybe not all of them if you have a 401k.

So what help are you looking for?

MrPotatoHead
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by MrPotatoHead » Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:23 pm

Anyone can call themselves a financial planner or adviser. There is a difference between being a financial planner or investment adviser and a CFP or ChFC.

A Certified Financial Planner(CFP) or ChFC (I would prefer that designation) is suppose to be a generalist and not an investment specialist. They should look at your estate needs,insurance needs, trusts, investments, taxes, long term care plan etc. The idea is they should look at you comprehensively and connect with specialist in the appropriate area.

If you are looking at investment only advice I would look to a CFA if I wanted outside help. However most people will be well served with a 2, 3, or 4 fund portfolio, and if they want fancy, a slice and dice.

My point is, unless you are getting a comprehensive review by a CFP or ChFC you do not have a financial plan in the sense it is meant, but what you likely have is an investment plan. They are very different.
Last edited by MrPotatoHead on Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

retiredjg
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by retiredjg » Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:31 pm

I agree that the best financial advice can sound like reading from a script. That is because good advice is often good for most people.

You can get personalized advice here by presenting your information in the format we use to help people with their portfolios. See the link at the bottom of this message for how to do that. It's a bit of work. People report it is helpful to just put the information on paper in the manner we ask.

Harry Sit has been offering a service through his blog that you might be interested in. Harry is a respected member of this forum and I would expect his service to be useful. The cost is reasonable.

https://adviceonlyfinancial.com/how-to- ... paign=menu

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munemaker
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by munemaker » Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:33 pm

If you are looking for a financial planner, look in the mirror.

Fan23
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by Fan23 » Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:31 pm

Howboutsomehelp, I felt the same way you do just a few months ago. Don't worry, you can learn everything you need to know to invest sensibly, and it's not very complicated at all. Low-fee index funds, those are the magic words and once you start learning about that, everything clicks into place.

You're not an idiot! Some of us didn't grow up learning about any of this. It's easier to learn it yourself than to figure out which financial advisor really has your back. Even if you ultimately decide to use an advisor, you should first learn the basics of investing, just so you can evaluate whatever the advisor tells you. You really do not want to go into a financial advisor's office knowing nothing; it's too risky.

You are capable of learning this, and you may even find it interesting. You'll also gain some personal satisfaction from learning it and doing it yourself.

DarkHelmetII
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by DarkHelmetII » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:42 am

My own personal experience - I dug around a found a fee-only financial planner who would review my current investments and target asset allocations. Our contract specified his rule as fiduciary. Cost $2000.

Added: to clarify, definitely agree you can do this without a financial planner. In my specific case, however, my wife had $100,000+ sitting in cash that she wanted some "expert" advice on. So i felt a one-time $2,000 point of view from a fiduciary was worth it to avoid further analysis paralysis.
Last edited by DarkHelmetII on Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

DanMahowny
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by DanMahowny » Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:05 am

munemaker wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:33 pm
If you are looking for a financial planner, look in the mirror.
Exactly. Learn to do it yourself. It's not that hard.

Read. Think.

Avoid financial planners, investment advisors, etc.

MikeG62
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Location: New Jersey

Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by MikeG62 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:57 am

retiredjg wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:31 pm

...Harry Sit has been offering a service through his blog that you might be interested in. Harry is a respected member of this forum and I would expect his service to be useful. The cost is reasonable.

https://adviceonlyfinancial.com/how-to- ... paign=menu
+1

Although I don't know Harry personally, I have been a reader of his blog for over a year now. If I were in need of an advisor and was worried about finding one, I would use Harry's service. I think he charges only $300 to locate three advisors in your general area. He knows what to look for and the right questions to ask. Seems like money well spent to me.

Your other option could be pouring over the Garrett network and trying to select an advisor. However, not necessarily knowing what to ask or how to differentiate one advisor from the next I think having Harry do the legwork increases the likelihood you end up with an advisor you are happy with.

Good luck!

livesoft
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by livesoft » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:02 am

A fluff piece on financial planners in the NYTimes today:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/20/smar ... anner.html

Unfortunately, it does not inform one about all the problems with financial planners. They ain't all good guys and gals.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

book lover
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by book lover » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:33 am

Even if you decide to use a financial planner, I would read the Wiki and post your questions here. The collective intelligence of this group of people is off the charts.

howboutsomehelp
Posts: 3
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by howboutsomehelp » Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:07 am

Thank you for all the great advice. You guys are so quick to respond. This is the best forum I have ever seen. You all are superb! Thanks again.

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ruralavalon
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Location: Illinois

Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by ruralavalon » Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:04 am

Welcome to the forum :) .

howboutsomehelp wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:22 pm
I remain a real idiot about finances and distrustful of advertised financial planners.
Who should I contact to get some solid financial advice from someone who will look out for my best interest?
I tried one of the Vanguard financial planners in the past but he was terrible, and I felt like he was a robot reading a script.
I live in central Tennessee between Nashville and Knoxville.
Married, 60's and no debt.
Any recommendations?
Thanks.
Here is a chapter from a free on-line book, which details how to select a planner -- Chapter 10 – On Your Own or Hire an Advisor. "The great paradox of using an advisor is that you must know some basics in order to evaluate the advice, and once you do, you also know enough to consider doing your own management. If you have gotten this far through the primer, you are already a more knowledgeable investor. "

Two links for finding an advisor:
http://www.napfa.org/consumer/index.asp
http://www.garrettplanningnetwork.com/

As others have mentioned Harry Sit offers a service through his blog to scout for planners in your area. "Advice-Only Search and Screening".

In general see "Investment Planning".

Even if you decide to use a financial planner, I would read the Wiki and post your questions here. Please see this for format: "Asking Portfolio Questions".
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

KSActuary
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by KSActuary » Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:21 am

MrPotatoHead wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:23 pm
Anyone can call themselves a financial planner or adviser. There is a difference between being a financial planner or investment adviser and a CFP or ChFC.

A Certified Financial Planner(CFP) or ChFC (I would prefer that designation) is suppose to be a generalist and not an investment specialist. They should look at you estate needs,insurance needs, trusts, investments, taxes, long term care plan etc. The idea is they should look at you comprehensively and connect with specialist in the appropriate area.

If you are looking at investment only advice I would look to a CFA if I wanted outside help. However most people will be well served with a 2, 3, or 4 fund portfolio, and if they want fancy, a slice and dice.

My point is, unless you are getting a comprehensive review by a CFP or ChFC you do not have a financial plan in the sense it is meant, but what you likely have is an investment plan. They are very different.
+1

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Sandtrap
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by Sandtrap » Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:44 am

When you learn enough to select the right Financial Planner, Wealth Manager, Investment Consultant, (or other "title"),
you will know enough to do it yourself for free.
Really. . . the more you learn, the simpler it will seem, and not at all intimidating.

Read this wonderful missive on investment simplicity:
TAYLOR LARIMORE ON “SIMPLICTY”
https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewt ... p?t=156505


Welcome to the forum.
Read all of the Wiki, "Getting Started", etc.
Ask questions.
. . . . . then. . . after doing the above. . . decide.

****
It might benefit you to step back a bit and get an overall view of things.
These are things you might do in this, sort of, actionable order to brush up on things you already know. . . . and learn a few new things.

1
Post a portfolio review to clean up, as needed, everything you have right now.
(Be sure to put in the fund names next to the Ticker Symbols) (edit your original post this way.)
Asking Portfolio Questions
https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewt ... =1&t=6212
2
Then get, "The Little Book on Common Sense Investing" by Jack Bogle ($14) which is the foundation for everything on this forum.
https://www.amazon.com/Little-Book-Comm ... jack+bogle
Suggested Reading List
https://www.bogleheads.org/RecommendedReading.php
Forum Library of Investing Advice with links
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Main_Page
3
While you are waiting for the book, read this stuff. (you might know more than 90% of most folks when you're done).
Your Toolbox.
GETTING STARTED
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Getting_started
Bogle Philosophy
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Bogleh ... hilosophy
Here are links to the wiki's "Getting Started" and "Investing Startup Kit" pages:
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Getting_started
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Bogleh ... rt-up_kit
4
While you are reading the links, start working on this and keep refining it to fit your needs.
Define General Investment Goals and Objectives (what is your plan?)
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Invest ... statement
5
Keep reading:
Outline of Investing
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Outline_of_investing
Outline of Financial Planning (with links)
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Outlin ... _planning
Funding Priority (what do I do first?)
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Priori ... vestments
Tax Efficient Fund Placement
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Tax-ef ... _placement
Asset allocation in multiple accounts
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Asset ... accounts
Risk Tolerance (what is your "sleep factor"?)
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Risk_tolerance
Asset Allocation (what is right for you?) https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Asset_allocation
6
While you are doing all this be sure you have this:
Emergency Fund
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Emergency_fund
7
And, read this free booklet.Free Reading: "If You Can" by Bernstein
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j& ... -SB3S580I5
8
When you have a general grasp of basic concepts and post your portfolio review, separate post if needed or edit your original post, then use these tools to keep your funds, etc, in order, etc.

ONLINE FINANCIAL TOOLS
PORFOLIO VISUALIZERS, PROJECTIONS, AND ANALYSIS
https://www.portfoliovisualizer.com
Firecalc. Retirement. How long will your money last?
https://www.firecalc.com
Morningstar Instant Xray
https://members.morningstar.com/Registe ... L100&vUrl=

This is a general well worn path from start to launch on the way to "Bogleheadville".
I hope this is helpful to you.
good luck,
j :D

drzzzzz
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by drzzzzz » Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:18 pm

I have used Allan Roth from Wealthlogic - website is DaretobeDull.com - charges by the hour, well credentialled, and had a similar view to mine about finances which meant we were more in synch. I thought his services were valuable and I would use him again, sometimes he posts on BH and is often quoted elsewhere - all done by email and phone, but in all honesty, hourly rate isn't the cheapest that you will find.

Cara
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by Cara » Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:16 pm

Most of the posts in this thread are about how to get around using a financial planner to determine your specific allocations and/or funds in your portfolio, and I recently ALSO used the free part of Vanguard's advisory service to simply down to an approx. 3 fund portfolio (from one that had far too many). Nothing I couldn't have learned from this forum (but it was free, and confirmed what I'd been reading, so it was helpful).

But what if what you need is strategic, "What is the impact of this move on my taxes going to be" advice? Some of you may have seen other posts I've written recently about inheriting different types of accounts and knowing how BEST to handle them with the least impact on my tax bill (among other issues) -- do you still make decisions like that on your own?

Is there anyone here who uses a CPA for advice, and not for tax form preparation? Is *that* a good idea? (And can a CPA also function as a financial advisor?)

dbr
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by dbr » Sun Apr 22, 2018 6:12 pm

Cara wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:16 pm
Most of the posts in this thread are about how to get around using a financial planner to determine your specific allocations and/or funds in your portfolio, and I recently ALSO used the free part of Vanguard's advisory service to simply down to an approx. 3 fund portfolio (from one that had far too many). Nothing I couldn't have learned from this forum (but it was free, and confirmed what I'd been reading, so it was helpful).

But what if what you need is strategic, "What is the impact of this move on my taxes going to be" advice? Some of you may have seen other posts I've written recently about inheriting different types of accounts and knowing how BEST to handle them with the least impact on my tax bill (among other issues) -- do you still make decisions like that on your own?

Is there anyone here who uses a CPA for advice, and not for tax form preparation? Is *that* a good idea? (And can a CPA also function as a financial advisor?)
I have used a CPA to analyze some tax issues and it was helpful. What he did and how he did it I could have done myself with some time and effort spent with a spreadsheet . . . but that depends on how handy one is with spreadsheets and not missing some nuance in the tax code. I also benefited from some good information from a CPA that was doing my parents tax work. It saved us a fair amount. I was going to say good "advice" but the issue was not advice and rather was expert information, which is a different thing. Tax expertise is an entirely different thing from investment advising and so is legal expertise regarding estates, trusts, and wills, which should be obtained from an attorney. Others may differ in their recommendation.

avoidingdumbmistakes
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by avoidingdumbmistakes » Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:14 pm

Cara wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:16 pm

Is there anyone here who uses a CPA for advice, and not for tax form preparation? Is *that* a good idea? (And can a CPA also function as a financial advisor?)
I absolutely get important advice from 2 cpa's. One is a family friend and the other is an excellent cpa and estate attorney. Some very important questions/strategies need cpa advice as FA's can't give detailed tax advice.

My "tax life" is fairly complicated with my wife being self employed, 4 kids (2 in college and 2 in middle school) and another business that I'm working as a side hustle. Asset allocation is only 1 piece of the puzzle. Tax efficiency is another piece. I have a taxable account, 2 tIRAs, and will be opening an i401k for my wife this year along with a roth. Knowing the best way to allocate which assets in what account can get complicated.

Personally, I don't use a CFP but I still get a lot of advice from Schwab and accountants to get a clearer picture of the entire pie.

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ruralavalon
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Location: Illinois

Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by ruralavalon » Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:16 pm

Cara wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:16 pm
Most of the posts in this thread are about how to get around using a financial planner to determine your specific allocations and/or funds in your portfolio, and I recently ALSO used the free part of Vanguard's advisory service to simply down to an approx. 3 fund portfolio (from one that had far too many). Nothing I couldn't have learned from this forum (but it was free, and confirmed what I'd been reading, so it was helpful).

But what if what you need is strategic, "What is the impact of this move on my taxes going to be" advice? Some of you may have seen other posts I've written recently about inheriting different types of accounts and knowing how BEST to handle them with the least impact on my tax bill (among other issues) -- do you still make decisions like that on your own?

Is there anyone here who uses a CPA for advice, and not for tax form preparation? Is *that* a good idea? (And can a CPA also function as a financial advisor?)
I have had help from a CPA/tax attorney co-worker.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

howboutsomehelp
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by howboutsomehelp » Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:32 am

Again, the response to my question has been great with some very thoughtful answers and resources.
My problem is I really don't want to be a financial expert and it all baffles and frustrates me. I just want someone good I can trust that will give some sound advice, but I guess a lot of people found those qualities in Bernie Madoff without doing their homework.

rdgbogle
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by rdgbogle » Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:52 pm

howboutsomehelp wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:32 am
Again, the response to my question has been great with some very thoughtful answers and resources.
I have been listening to this podcast lately: (http://www.theretirementandirashow.com/)

The show host is a fee based adviser. He covers topics that I haven't heard before.

One thing I don't read/hear a lot about is tax planning around RMDs when you turn 70.5 I know someone with a pension and social security that doesn't need to take withdrawals but is forced to. They may have been better off drawing down the IRA on their own time table prior to 70.5 rather than being forced by RMD rules.

Also the main topic I hear/read about in the Roth/Traditional debate is tax rates. What about tax brackets when you are forced to liquidate a large traditional IRA/401k?

I agree with others that say asset allocation is just one part of the bigger picture.

ExitStageLeft
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by ExitStageLeft » Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:15 pm

It may be that a lot of the discussion about those RMDs slipped past your notice under the heading of "Roth conversion". That's what all those threads are about, how to avoid the RMD hammer in your later years.

Theseus
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Re: Financial planners [looking for one]

Post by Theseus » Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:21 pm

When I went to the bogleheads conference last year, I met 3 financial planners (I ended up being on the same table by chance). Based on the discussion it seemed they all approach financial planning in somewhat similar fashion to what we all follow here. While they were not there to solicit any business, I was able to get connected on linked-in with them. If you need contact information please PM me and I will send you their linked-in information.

But please know that I have no experience working with them other than some discussions at that conference. So you will have to do the due diligence.

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